Friday, April 21, 2017

April Update: Slow Month, but Gearing Up

It's been a slow month as far as productivity. My least productive month so far this year. I still have another week to throw words at various projects, so I may at least end up on par with last month's word count. But. My writing mojo has taken a hit the last couple of months, obviously.

It doesn't look like the first adventure in the second season of my adventure series will get done by the end of Camp NaNo after all. I do hope to get it done by the end of this year, but it probably won't be until later. I don't feel too bad about putting it off, though. I'm still not certain anything will ever come of this series, so for now it's just supposed to be a fun palate cleanser between larger projects.

I have been gearing up to write book three for MystWatch, though. I've poked at it a day or two without adding much to it this month, but I did tweak the first chapter so I'm not stuck anymore and added stuff to the outline. I should be ready to start seriously writing starting in May.

Still, this month won't be a total loss, even if I don't write any more words. I did a developmental edit on Rachel's next book from Bottle Cap Publishing. I'll probably get line edits for that sometime next week. I have also started to query the first book in my MystWatch series again. I'm back to following my original plan there, where I'll send it out to five or six agents at a time until I get through all the agents on my list, then switch to publishers. I haven't ruled out self-publishing, either. Rachel has been very encouraging, saying that it's a solid enough book that I should do well either way I decide to go.

I had a bit of a job scare yesterday. More and more of my coworkers are being laid off. After spending about an hour looking at potential job prospects, I got really, really motivated to kick into a higher gear as far as my writing career. I can't face another admin pro job, and editing jobs, especially locally, are few and far between. I wouldn't go so far as to say that I haven't been serious about getting a book published--after all, that's been the primary focus of this blog since its inception six years ago--but I've definitely increased my urgency. It's time. The first book is ready. I'm ready. Let's do this.

Of course, this also means getting back to actually writing. I need to work on the third book. And other books, in case this series doesn't land an agent or publisher. I have two other potential book series that may do better, I just need to edit them and clean them up for submission.

Anyway. My plan for this month is to write as many words as I can for episode 2.1 on my adventure novella and do line edits for Rachel's book.

For the rest of the year, my plan is to write book three over the next three or four months, give episode 2.1 another go, write a couple of Cafe stories, then try something completely new and different for NaNoWriMo in November.

Also important to note...I've left my Decembers open for relaxing on my updated project timeline. After NaNo and around the holidays, I'm no good at working. Maybe that'll change this year, but I'd rather look forward to a scheduled break than realize three quarters of the way through the month that I'm not going to get anything done. It's bad for moral.

And as I discovered at work yesterday, low moral equals low productivity. It's a vicious cycle.

One I intend to break when it comes to my own work any way I can.

Monday, March 6, 2017

March Update: More Progress (and some rambling)

I continued to gain momentum through the rest of February and through the first few days of March.

I finished up the adventure novella a couple days into March (although who's keeping that close of track, right?).

I also wrote and submitted a March Cafe story. I'm two for two this year, woohoo!

But since finishing up my February stuff, I am leaning toward a slump. I have a couple of things I could work on this month, but I haven't settled on anything, which means I haven't actually done much work on anything.

I really wanted to dive into the developmental edit of Online Dating for Demons, since I'd finally come to terms with the work it needs and did an editing treatment for it. But. When I sat down with my notes, that all to familiar feeling of disgust and exhaustion hit me.

I don't think I have it in me right now to do the massive edit this beast needs.

This poor novel. It keeps getting pushed back and moved up and then pushed back again. I know from my experience with Monsters of Lawrence that the first edit is always the hardest. You have to really break a novel and put it back together again, and that is scary and torturous.

I keep wondering if this novel will actually ever get there. With MoL, it was definitely a labor of love. I still love that book, even after half a dozen editing passes over five years. ODD...I have always hated it. I hated it when I was writing it. I never wanted to look at it again after I finished. When I got beta reader feedback for it, I made a list of things to do, and then trunked it.

I wonder if it should stay trunked? I mean, I know I was enchanted by it when I read through it to do the editing treatment. So there's something there that I love. I mean, part of it is that I'm daunted by the amount of work it needs. But it honestly doesn't need any more than Towers of Kansas did. I gutted that thing more than once to get it right.

Anyway. That book was slated for this month, but instead I'm working on the first episode of the second season of my adventure series. For a few days anyway. I should be getting a book to edit pretty soon.

So this month will be a bunch of poking at various things until I get that, and then some more poking until Camp NaNo starts in April. I'm planning on finishing up episode 2.1 in April, regardless of what I do in March.

I'll probably write a Cafe story, too. My goal is to do at least six stories for it this year, so if I can get them out on slower months, that'd be ideal.

Maybe I'll try to do more reading this month, too. I'm really struggling with my reading goal for this year. Nothing has really captured my imagination, so everything I've been reading has been a slog. I hope to find something good, soon. Otherwise I'm going to keep plodding through awful books that are short just to add books toward my goal.

Oh, one last thing before I end this for now. I did revamp my project timeline today. I do that when I want to feel like I'm doing something writing-related but am not actually writing. Hah. I now have most of the book projects I want to start on the timeline, including the whole adventure series, so I know when I can start releasing it. At my current rate, it'll be a few years yet. That's probably better. Gives me time to write, edit, and maybe find someone who I trust to proof them for me. I keep thinking maybe I'll throw them at Carina. Sure, the romance doesn't end with a HEA until the very last episode (oh, spoilers and stuff), but that is the over-arching plot. I could probably sell it as urban fantasy, even though I kind of consider it action adventure fantasy. Maybe even mystery, because there is one in each installment. It's basically Indiana Jones meets Stephanie Plum.

I really should save it for myself. I'm getting a bit obsessed with the idea of being published, so I'm endlessly tempted to throw everything I can at the wall to see what sticks.

But writing isn't like making spaghetti. I need to wait until something is completely done cooking before serving it to people, otherwise they'll get salmonella or something.

I still have three years and change before I had hoped to reach my goal. I can take my time at this stage.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

February Update: Measurable Progress!

I did finally get past my funk, found my mojo, and have gotten back to work on things. Yay.

I got a line edit done on Monsters of Lawrence. It's as polished as it's going to get without a second pair of eyes. I'm going to start querying it again soon. Sometime this month.

I picked up the adventure novella I bailed on last year. It's not done yet, but it's coming along. I hope to have it finished by the end of February.

I submitted a February story for the Cafe, and I've started working on one for March.

I've brainstormed ideas for two different worlds. One is a high fantasy world that came from a dream. The other is, strangely, straight fiction, and came about the same way Monsters of Lawrence did, just without the fantasy elements. I asked myself, what would I do in this situation? And a book idea appeared, from start to finish.

I dunno if I'll ever do the fiction book, but it's there in case I decide I want to. It's full of cliches and tropes, but so am I, so that's fitting, I suppose.

The writing group and the Cafe have undergone some major revamping over the last month and a half. It's been stressful since I don't like change, but I know it's for the best. The growing pains are mostly past.

We're decentralizing responsibility in the writing group, emphasizing that we're more of a meetup slash co-op than a structured writing group. We're encouraging people to get in there and do what they want, and that leadership of the group just maintains the framework for that to happen. My friend and I are working on a FAQ and a new banner. I'm excited but have some trepidation. I don't know if it's going to work or even change anything.

The Confabulator Cafe got a facelift. Things are updated and more streamlined. We used to be a blog, and it looked like a blog. Now we are essentially a magazine, so it looks more like a magazine. I wasn't completely convinced it needed a change, but I do like the updates, and several changes make my job easier.

I'm still struggling with depression and chaos in various relationships, so I still have days where I literally cannot work, despite the desire to (or days when I have time to work, I just don't). But I think, more often than not, I'm making progress in the ways I can. I count brainstorming ideas, researching literary agents, and editing as progress. I don't have to be writing to be making strides toward my goals, even though most of my goals are word-count based these days.

I am still tracking projects and word counts (and editing hours) on the tracking spreadsheet I developed, but I also joined MyWriteClub with a few of my friends. It's a good way visually see the progress I'm making on my various projects.

I keep plugging along, through good days and bad. Hopefully my funk is gone, for the most part.

Until next year, probably. Sigh.

Just gotta make the time in between count for more!